Saturday, May 11, 2013

Casa V's Red Lentil Stew

Casa V’s Red Lentil Stew
 (serves at least 6)

Lentil stew is a meal that my husband and I regularly enjoy. This is our tried and true house recipe laden with vegetables and some of our favorite seasonings. It also works well as a meatless meal if you omit the beef. This recipe creates a very large yield but the leftovers freeze wonderfully in batches for multiple quick meals.

-1 lb lean ground beef
- 2 medium onions (diced)
- 3 large stalks celery (sliced)
- 1 large red bell pepper (diced)
- 3 handfuls baby carrots (sliced)
- 3 large garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 jalapeño pepper (optional)
- 2 cups red lentils (divided)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 cups chicken broth (my favorite)
- 4 cups water
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 5 teaspoons ground ginger
- 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 3 teaspoons ground coriander
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt (plus more to taste)
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Olive oil for the pan

Heat some oil in a large cast iron dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until softened and translucent.

In a separate pan or cast iron skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat 
then set aside.
Add the sliced carrots and a sprinkle of salt to the onions. Stir and allow 
the carrots to soften. 

Add the celery (reserving the celery greens for garnishing purposes) along 
with the minced garlic.

Cook for a minute or two, and then pour the chicken broth and water into the pan. Then add the can of diced tomatoes with the juice.

Measure out the ginger, smoked paprika, turmeric, coriander, and cumin and add to the mixture along with at least 2 teaspoons of salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Squeeze the lemon into the pan, and then add the ground beef, red bell pepper and sliced jalapeño (if using).

Finally pour 1 ½ cups of the red lentils into the pan and stir to combine.

Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer as long as you like but at least 30 minutes. Fifteen minutes before you plan to serve the stew, add the last ½ cup of red lentils and continue cooking (at least 15 minutes) until you are ready to eat. Before serving, taste and 
add more salt if necessary.

Serve the stew with a leafy green salad and cornbread wedges (our favorite recipe) if desired. Garnish with the celery greens; enjoy!

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